To demonstrate the low-noise performance of the multi-aperture imaging system using a selective averaging method, an ultra-high-sensitivity multi-aperture color camera with 2×2 apertures is being developed. In low-light conditions, random telegraph signal (RTS) noise and dark current white defects become visible, which greatly degrades the quality of the image. To reduce these kinds of noise as well as to increase the number of incident photons, the multi-aperture imaging system composed of an array of lens and CMOS image sensor (CIS), and the selective averaging for minimizing the synthetic sensor noise at every pixel is utilized. It is verified by simulation that the effective noise at the peak of noise histogram is reduced from 1.44 e- to 0.73 e- in a 2×2-aperture system, where RTS noise and dark current white defects have been successfully removed. In this work, a prototype based on low-noise color sensors with 1280×1024 pixels fabricated in 0.18um CIS technology is considered. The pixel pitch is 7.1μm×7.1μm. The noise of the sensor is around 1e- based on the folding-integration and cyclic column ADCs, and the low voltage differential signaling (LVDS) is used to improve the noise immunity. The synthetic F-number of the prototype is 0.6.
To observe molecular transport in a living cell, a high-speed CMOS image sensor for multi-point fluorescence correlation spectroscopy is developed. To achieve low-noise and high-speed simultaneously, a prototype CMOS image sensor is designed based on a complete pixel-parallel architecture and multi-channel pipelined pixel readout. The prototype chip with 10×10 effective pixels is fabricated in 0.18-μm CMOS image sensor technology. The pixel pitch and the photosensitive area are 56μm and 10μm in diameter without a microlens, respectively. In the experiment, the total sampling rate of 606kS/s is achieved. The measured average random noise is 24.9LSB, which is equivalent to about 2.5 electrons in average.